Roads expected to headline State of the State


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her second State of the State address Wednesday night before a joint session of the House and Senate in Lansing.

One of the big questions is what Whitmer will have to say about roads.

Wednesday will be a big moment for Whitmer. She will stand in front of the very people that dismissed her first attempt to fulfill her promise of fixing the roads with a 45 cent per gallon gas tax hike.

She will once again talk to House and Senate members and lay out a new plan. However, this time she may not need the Legislature at all.

There has been speculation that Whitmer would go to the State Transportation Commission to get money through bonding. That would leave the Legislature largely out of the mix.

Asked about that prospect Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said that bonding was  “a finance tool, not a funding source.”

But the senator said he was optimistic about what he is hearing.

“I’m encouraged by some of the preliminary information I’m getting because I think we might be seeing really is just common-sense asset and liability management. We’ll wait and see what the final presentation is tomorrow (Wednesday) night,” he said.

Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, says she is looking forward to seeing a new plan too.

“That’s certainly the big question is what are those details and what does that look like. How can we re-imagine our approach to this,” she said. “What we had proposed before was not really going to work, clearly what we’re doing now is not working. I’m interested in hearing new perspectives, new ideas.”

The question of roads and how to fix them will be the major theme of Wednesday night’s speech, but Whitmer will have other things on her mind.

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